Sam Bradford Mans First Team, Says He’s ‘Good To Go’

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Things have changed since we last saw Sam Bradford some six weeks ago.

The cumbersome brace that cased his twice surgically repaired left knee was gone, replaced by a black form-fitting sleeve. He felt restricted by the old contraption and got the thumb’s up from the medical staff to ditch it for training camp. It seemed to make a difference. There was more of a flow to Bradford’s movements Sunday as the 2015 season officially got underway on the sun-soaked NovaCare practice fields.

A healthier-looking Bradford participated in 11-on-11s for the first time. Coming off a pair of ACL tears in under a year, the 27-year-old was limited to 7-on-7 work this spring. But Chip Kelly declared prior to the start of Sunday’s session that Bradford was “cleared to go, full-go” and that’s about what we saw. The players were not in pads today but Bradford was a full participant.

“It was good to get back out there. Obviously it’s been a long time since I’ve been out there part of team drills — almost a year now,” said Bradford. “Just to get out there and be a part of it felt good. Obviously getting adjusted to the speed of it again but I was just happy to get out there and start playing football again.”

The last change was in how the reps were distributed. During the offseason conditioning program, it was Mark Sanchez predominantly with the first team as Bradford worked himself back. Today it was Bradford with the ones.

“I don’t know,” said Sanchez, when asked if he was surprised. “I don’t really worry about it. I did the same thing last year — you get in with the ones sometimes, you get in there with the threes sometimes — it doesn’t really matter. Every rep is valuable, you make the most of it, try to get a completion and move the guys down the field and I thought I did that.”

Added Bradford: “I think that’s just kind of how the reps fell today.”

It took a little time for Bradford to get his legs under him. He misfired on a couple throws during individual drills, and was high on his first pass during 7-on-7s, forcing Josh Huff to leap up to make the grab. Later, he threw one right into the chest of Nolan Carroll for the interception. He settled in as the day went on and began connecting on his throws consistently.

Sunday was less about the results and more about the quarterback taking a pretty significant stride forward in his comeback attempt.

“To just get out there and play ball and know that my knee can do it, I think it was a really big first step and first day today.

“I’m good to go,” said Bradford, adding with a laugh, “you guys might even see me pull one, run it up the middle, you know?”

Is there any doubt that he’ll be ready for the opener in Atlanta?

“Barring any major setbacks or anything,” he said, “I feel great about that.”